The German capital Berlin is a national economic powerhouse, hosting countless medium to large and globally valued companies in different sectors. Berlin is a place of attractive tourism sites and many cultural gems. Its community is a mixture of different cultures and nationalities making for a rich and diverse society immersed in a unique lifestyle.
All these features make Berlin one of the most metropolitan area in entire Europe. But, quite to your surprise, it is a well-known fact that Berlin is the most affordable city to live in for international students among all big European capitals.
As you might know, accommodation is your first and biggest concern you’re going to deal with while studying in Germany as a foreign student.
In Germany, however, finding a suitable place to rent is an easier task than elsewhere for two main reasons
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A wide range of affordable costs
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It is understandable that the university’s dorm halls must be your first option to accommodate. But there’s a disparity between the number of international students and available rooms at these places. As a result, many students look out for other affordable options. Luckily, there are many of them out there. You just need to do a little research.
Although there’s reported for a trend of a slight increase of apartment rental prices in Berlin, the cost remains very affordable in comparison with other big cities of Europe as we’re going to explain in more details below.
How much does it cost to rent an apartment in Berlin?
In terms of rent costs, Berlin is a place of huge contrasts and this is actually an advantage because it enables you to choose among countless available options to suit your budgetary capacities.
It is almost a rule of thumb for some of the biggest cities that downtown areas are more expensive than those in the periphery and the same is with Berlin. In addition to the location, the cost of renting an apartment in Berlin varies in dependence on other factors, mainly having to do with your personal preferences.
As you would expect, a more luxurious and well-furnished apartment will cost you more than a random apartment in the periphery of Berlin. Its space coverage and the number of rooms also accounts for its rent price. The rule of thumb is that the larger is the apartment the higher is its cost.
Overall, the rent price in Berlin ranges from around €500 to €2,000. As we already said, downtown areas have higher rent costs. If you want to accommodate in a one-bedroom apartment in the center of Berlin then you can find something with a monthly rent of €600 at the minimum, while the maximum cost can climb higher in €1,000.
A similar apartment situated in the periphery of the city will cost you around €450 at the minimum and around €900 at the maximum.
On the other hand, the rental price for a three-bedroom apartment in the city center can reach a maximum of €2,000. With a bit of luck, you can find something around €1,200. The same apartment in the peripheral sites will cost you between €850 and €1,500.
Note that most of the time, amenities are not included in the total bill of your monthly rent.
> Learn more about the cost of living in Germany.
Average Rent in Berlin vs. Average Rent in Other EU Capitals
The table below features the current average monthly rent for some of the biggest and most expensive capital cities in Europe, including Berlin.
One-bedroom Apartment at the City Center
One-bedroom Apartment at the City’s Periphery
Three-bedrooms Apartment at the City Center
Three-bedrooms Apartment at the City’s Periphery
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To sum up the table:
Rent prices in Berlin are lower than in London by 54%
Rent prices in Berlin are lower than in Geneva by 53%
Rent prices in Berlin are lower than in Luxembourg by 44%
Rent prices in Berlin are lower than in Amsterdam by 40%
Rent prices in Berlin are lower than in Copenhagen by 33%
Rent prices in Berlin are lower than in Paris by 32%
Rent prices in Berlin are lower than in Stockholm by 20%
Rent prices in Berlin are lower than in Rome by 10%
Rent prices in Berlin are lower than in Vienna by 3%
Some Important Tips About Renting in Berlin
Although Berlin is not too much expensive compared to other big European capitals, for a normal student it equates a wealth. To ease this burden you have to make a few adjustments and get used to a new lifestyle. In the end, this is what being a student is all about.
Here are a few important tips that can help you:
Seek flat-sharing – As a student, most of the time you rely on your personal savings and parental funds. As such, every single penny is worthy during your studies in Germany. One way you can reduce the cost of rent in Berlin is by sharing your room with someone else. This is what the majority of foreign students in Germany do (and indeed elsewhere). By doing so, you won’t only reduce the cost of rent, but you will also be sharing amenities’ bills.
Aim for the periphery – As we’ve already explained, apartments in peripheral areas of Berlin are cheaper. Thus, we recommend you to focus more on that area if you’re looking for something more affordable. Berlin is a big and highly developed city and the distance from the center areas won’t pose any major problem. There are many transportations means you can use and will turn to be much cheaper than residing in downtown areas.
The accessibility to the city – Before deciding to rent a place you also have to see around if that zone has enough access to the rest of the city. Although Berlin is well-connected and has a highly developed and stretched network of roads and public transportations, there may be parts of the city where your access is limited. If that is the case, it may be nerve-wracking to commute each day to the campus of your university or shopping around.
Housing rent – It is common in Berlin that many people accommodate expats in their own home at a reasonable price. So it is highly recommended you seek these houses because somehow it will give you a feeling of your home and it will cost you less.
Start earlier – Finding a place to rent in Berlin takes time and time is everything for students. Instead of losing it searching for a place to accommodate you can spend time dealing with the ultimate purpose of your visit to Germany which is studying. For that, it is highly recommended you tackle, accommodation issues well in time, preferably before you land in Germany. In the end, if you don’t manage to find a proper place to accommodate at least you have a list of useful resources that can help you to find an apartment following your arrival in Germany, in no time.
Rent increases regularly – The rent of an apartment in Germany increases in year-on-year basis. The measure of increase changes depending on the apartment you’re residing at. On average you can expect the cost of rent to increase by around 20% after the first year of your stay. Note that your landlord is not allowed to exceed the rate of increase set by German law, as we’ve explained down below.
Upfront costs – Before you’re given the keys to your apartment in Berlin, it is common for landlords to require an initial payment in the form of a deposit (Kaution). Usually, the amount of money you pay for the Kaution is equal to three months of rent.
Helpful Resources for Students
There’s an overwhelming amount of information you must collect about accommodation options in Berlin to be able to find a proper shelter in place. Given that, the need for help is of essential importance.
Your university must be the first port of call for your accommodation concerns. Normally, Universities in Germany operate an International Office created to help their foreign students to deal with their issues related to their studies in Germany. Public universities share a huge contingent of rooms in their dorm halls to accommodate international students, therefore it is less likely compared to Private universities, that they will offer you such service.
However, most often there’s a disparity between the number of incoming foreign students in Public universities in Germany and dorm rooms allocated for them. They’re aware of the fact that for young expats, Germany is an unknown land and finding accommodation is challenging.
For that, they offer comprehensive guidance to you to help you find an apartment in the area around. Moreover, they maintain strong links with local rental agencies and bridge the gap between you.
To get such guidance you can launch their website and read their brochures about accommodation. Usually, there is a list of local rental agencies and available rooms and attached to that a proper list of their contacts. If by the time you’re looking to find an apartment you have landed in Germany you can go in person to this office and they can even arrange an appointment to go to those rental agencies.
Other helpful resources for rent in Berlin are the following accommodation agencies:
Rental Law in Germany
When landing in a foreign country and rent an apartment it is essential you get some information about your rights as a tenant to avoid unwanted scenarios. The German is highly in the favors of you as a tenant granting you several rights.
Your landlord has the right to evict you from their apartment only two months after you don’t pay your rent.
According to law, the rent you pay can only be increased at a rate which stands aligned with fixed values regulated by law. If you note that your landlord is increasing your rent at a higher you can reach the local authorities to check if this is acceptable.
During the time you stay in an apartment in Berlin you’re allowed to intervene in its inventory as you wish (for example painting walls) but at the time you leave the apartment it must be in pretty much the same condition as when it was handed to you.
If you have a disability, the law enables you to request from the landlord to make proper changes to fit it with your physical needs.
Lastly, your landlord is obligated to maintain his/her property in optimal conditions during the whole time of your stay in that place. However, the law states that both parties can agree to carry out the cost of maintenance jointly.
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